Tag Archives: beacon press

The Gnostic Religion

The Gnostic Religion: The message of the alien God and the beginnings of Christianity by Hans Jonas, the 1963 second revised paperback edition from Beacon Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Hans Jonas The Gnostic Religion from Beacon Press

“Here is a full-scale study of the heretical world of Gnosticism—its literature, symbolic language and main tenets—based on actual Gnostic documents and written by an eminent authority in the field. The paperback edition of this classic contains an important new chapter entitled ‘The Recent Discoveries in the Field of Gnosticism,’ and an epilogue on ‘Gnosticism, Existentialism and Nihilism.'” — back cover


Drawing Down the Moon

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America by Margot Adler, the 1986 paperback from Beacon Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Margot Adler Drawing Down the Moon from Beacon Press

“Margot Adler—granddaughter of the renowned psychiatrist Alfred Adler and a reporter for National Public Radio—takes a fascinating and honest look at the religious experiences, beliefs, and lifestyles of the people who call themselves neopagans. Adler interviewed a colorful gallery of diverse people across the United States who believe that each person has a different path to divinity and that monotheism is a form of religious imperialism. She attended many of their ritual gatherings and discovered, contrary to stereotypical images, that most neopagans have no gurus or masters, that their beliefs are nonauthoritarian in spirit, and that they find inspiration in ancient deities, nature, myth, even science fiction. Still the only detailed history and comprehensive report on this little-known and largely misunderstood movement, Drawing Down the Moon has been revised and expanded to include new information on men’s spirituality, Druids, Norse Paganism, and a complete resource guide of newsletters, journals, books, groups, and festivals.”

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

God’s Phallus

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews God’s Phallus: And Other Problems for Men and Monotheism by Howard Eilberg-Schwartz [also] from Beacon Press:

Howard Eilber-Schwartz's God's Phallus from Beacon Press

 

This thoughtful and provocative book, like the equally-rewarding Moses the Egyptian of Jan Assman, owes a great amount to reflection on Freud’s final work: Moses and Monotheism. Eilberg-Schwartz considers the ways in which divine maleness creates dilemmas for human masculinity, in the context of hetero-normative monotheism. He discusses the peculiarities of ancient Hebrew theophanies, as well as the aniconic dimensions of the tradition. He musters a persuasive case that it was the maleness of God that was problematic for Hebrews at the time of the composition of the Torah, rather than mere corporeality or even anthropomorphism.

Eilberg-Schwartz proposes that the “solutions” to the dilemma shifted with the development of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, but the underlying difficulties are still present in all these phases of the Abrahamic tradition. His call for a “polymorphously perverse” theology to loose the inherited bonds of the masculine amounts to a proposed erasure of what Assman calls the “Mosaic distinction” that provides for the existence of aniconic monotheism in the first place. In the traditions of Western religion, such a move is truly iconoclastic. [via]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.